A study just released by the American Psychological Association shows no direct link between teen marijuana use, even chronic use, and health problems later in life. The study looked at more than 400 individuals as they matured and found no evidence that marijuana use caused or contributed to any mental or physical health issues over time, including cancer and psychosis.
The Daily Caller reports:
Chronic marijuana use as an adolescent has no link to mental or physical health problems later in life, according to a new study conducted over the past 20 years.
Published by the American Physiological Association, researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Rutgers University divided participants into four groups from their teenage years onward.
One group almost never smoked marijuana, one used it mostly in their teenage years, another started using in adulthood and the final group of subjects started using marijuana early and continued into their adult years.
The study found that “chronic marijuana users were not more likely than late increasing users, adolescence-limited users, or low/nonusers to experience several physical or mental health problems in their mid-30s.”
In fact, there were no significant differences between marijuana trajectory groups in terms of adult health outcomes, even when models were run without controlling for potential confounds. The researchers found no link between teen marijuana use and lifetime depression, anxiety, allergies, headaches or high blood pressure.“Everyone wants to prevent teen marijuana use, but we don’t need to exaggerate its harms and arrest responsible adults in order to do it,” Mason Tvert, communications director at the Marijuana Policy Project, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“Hopefully, this study will lead to a reevaluation of the tactics that are being used to discourage teens from trying marijuana,” he added.
This Sunday, President Obama is expected to voice his support for allowing medical marijuana and moving away from jailing people for drug abuse.
The Daily Caller reports:
In a CNN special to be aired on Sunday, not only will President Barack Obama state his full support of medical marijuana, he’ll also advocate for alternative models of drug abuse treatment which don’t involve incarceration.
The television special, called “Weed 3,” features CNN’s chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon who came to support medical marijuana after reviewing the evidence. This time around, he’ll be delving into the politics of medical marijuana research and interviewing President Barack Obama, according to an email obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Obama has previously predicted that more states will follow the lead of Washington and Colorado in legalizing recreational marijuana, and confirmed that although marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, the Department of Justice will look the other way.
Yesterday, conservative political blog The Daily Caller published a story about an industrial hemp bill introduced by Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, with a number of bipartisan co-sponsors. This bill would allow American farmers to grow hemp, which is the non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana, without fear of arrest.
In a digest email sent to subscribers, Daily Caller senior editor Jamie Weinstein opined:
Why not go all the way and push to legalize the drug variety of the cannabis plant, also known as pot, weed, marijuana, etc. It is not only nonsensical to send people to jail for possessing pot, it's immoral. If the GOP would wise up and take the lead on this issue, they could potentially make inroads with the youth vote.
Let’s hope more conservatives start to come around to this point of view. Considering the implications for limited government, state’s rights, and fiscal responsibility that come with the end of marijuana prohibition, this is an issue which those on the right-leaning side of the political spectrum should be lining up to support.
But there has been one noticeable difference from how the raids were carried out under the Bush administration: officials are no longer publicizing them. Mike Riggs has the story in the Daily Caller:
[T]he DOJ has demonstrated one marked change now that it’s under Democratic control: The department has stopped publicizing medical marijuana raids, both by requesting that more cases be sealed under court order and by refusing to distribute press releases.
Late last week, DEA and FBI agents raided five medical marijuana dispensaries in Nevada. In July, DEA agents raided the home of 65-year-old Mendocino County, California, grower Joy Greenfield and confiscated plants, money, and her computer. Also in July, DEA agents raided the home of a couple in Michigan who were licensed by the state to use marijuana, as well as three medical marijuana dispensaries in San Diego. In January and February of this year, the DEA raided two medical marijuana research labs in Colorado.
In all of the above cases, the DEA and the U.S. Attorneys’ offices issued no press releases and held no press conferences. The websites for DEA and the U.S. Attorneys’ offices in Detroit, Denver, Northern California, and Los Angeles (which also handles cases in Nevada) make no mention of the above dispensary raids, but do feature news releases for raids, arrests, and investigations involving harder drugs, as well marijuana trafficking, which is illegal in all states.
[…] But even if there hasn’t been any official change, Garrison Courtney, the head of communications for the DEA from 2005-2009, confirmed that his office regularly publicized dispensary busts. “When I was chief of public affairs, if it was a good case and a good bust, we put it out. There were some of the medical marijuana shops that had a ton of cash, a ton of weed, or a ton of guns, and we put it out. There wasn’t any policy against that.”
And yet, in the case of the Michigan couple, guns were found, but no press release was ever issued by the DEA or the U.S. Attorney.
Courtney added that “if you look at the DEA website, there are a lot of [Bush-era] news releases from San Francisco and Los Angeles. We were pretty aggressive in talking about the different dispensaries and the fact that they were operating in violation of federal law.”
Is this a case of officials trying to cover up their broken promises?
One month after MPP and an ideologically diverse coalition of drug policy reformers and advocacy groups called on President Obama to withdraw Michele Leonhart as his nominee for DEA administrator, a spokesperson for the White House has declared that the president is confident that the Bush holdover is the “right” choice for the job. Mike Riggs has the story in The Daily Caller:
Obama is confident that Leonhart is the right choice, the White House staffer said, and that as of Friday the president wasn’t considering anyone else for the position. In other words, the response from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to a chorus of concerns boils down to: Leonhart or bust.
MPP and others – including FireDogLake’s Jane Hamsher and the states-rights group the Tenth Amendment Center – pointed to Leonhart’s interim leadership of the DEA, which has included federal raids on state-legal medical marijuana providers and the denial of medical marijuana research applications, as evidence that she is continuing Bush-era policies that Obama promised to end. During the campaign, and in an October memo from the Department of Justice, the president and his administration pledged to end federal raids on state-legal medical marijuana providers.
But when Riggs asked the feds whether recent raids in California violate the spirit of the October memo, spokespeople for both the White House and DOJ seemed to backtrack on the president’s pledge.
But the White House and the Justice Department both told TheDC that Holder’s memo does not give dispensaries carte blanche to grow or sell marijuana, and that recent raids don’t conflict with what Obama expressed while campaigning.
“I wouldn’t say the memo ‘discourages’ certain raids,” a DOJ offical told TheDC. Rather, “it talks about prioritizing resources most efficiently.” And both the White House and the DOJ argued that the gist of the Holder memo was that the DEA would “not focus its limited resources on individual patients with cancer or other serious diseases.”
One can’t help but wonder, with the nomination of Leonhart, the ongoing raids, and this type of public about-face on the issue, if President Obama is now reneging on his campaign pledge to approach medical marijuana issues differently than his predecessor.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs thinks it’s absurd to even suggest such a thing. “I hear these people saying he’s like George Bush,” Gibbs said recently. “Those people ought to be drug tested. I mean, it’s crazy.”
Crazy is exactly right, Mr. Gibbs. I mean, it’s not like President Obama picked the same person George W. Bush did to lead the DEA, and has insisted on standing by her while she employs the same policies that were in place under Bush. Oh wait …